A blog entry came to my attention this week because it contained the intriguing title: “Lisa Marie Wilkinson is proud of herself.” My first thought was, “They must be referring to the actress Lisa Marie Wilkinson. I wonder what she's done and why she's proud?” I clicked on the link and went to the Harriet Klausner Appreciation Society blog (I will refer to it as the “HKAS” going forward) only to discover that the post referred to me. In a rather snide, head-shaking, "isn't she pathetic?" way.
I will confess to being a bit over zealous in the promotion department because my debut novel was just released and I feel I need to do more in the way of promo because I don’t have one of the big NY houses behind me (although not to be construed as a complaint against Medallion Press because they have been absolutely wonderful to me). But, the bad economy is hitting all aspects of retail, and book sales have not escaped the impact. So, when good reviews and accolades started to come in, I’ve tried to mention them at every opportunity.
The HKAS blog picked up a post I’d made on the Romantic Times message boards announcing a blog guest spot I was doing and the associated prize package the blog owner was offering. I’ve been a regular member of the RT boards for a long time (long before I had a book published), so I’m very comfortable with posting there, and the people who frequent the boards are tolerant of my promotion activities and have been wonderfully supportive. My goal in writing the post was to attract as much interest in both the blog contest and my debut book as possible, so I posted the following:
"My debut historical romance novel "Fire at Midnight" was released by Medallion Press on March 1. To celebrate, I will be the guest blogger on TJ Bennett's blog on Wednesday, March 11. Please come visit me at http://www.tjbsopinion.blogspot.com tomorrow as I share the "story behind the story" of "Fire at Midnight." Enter a comment and be eligible to win a wonderful prize basket! TJ will be giving away a basket of autographed books, and the basket will include a $20 gift certificate for Amazon.com. She’ll also give away a signed copy of her critically acclaimed historical romance, THE LEGACY, and a signed copy of my debut novel, "Fire at Midnight."
"Fire at Midnight" was a finalist or winner of more than 40 writing contests in its unpublished form, including the Maryland Writers Association Novel Contest and a Bronze Award from the Pacific Northwest Writers Association Literary Contest. The novel was recently awarded a 5 star review by Amazon reviewer Harriet Klausner, a 4 star rating by Romantic Times Book Reviews Magazine, and a 5 Blue Ribbon Rating from Romance Junkies."
Okay, yes, I managed to fit in all I could about awards my book had received because I’m trying to figure out how to make my book stand out. That’s what you do when you promote. At least, that’s what I thought promotion was intended to do. What I didn’t realize was that my post probably made me sound like a preening, obnoxious, egocentric pain-in-the butt. Now, people who know me personally will assure you I’m not (just ask my Mom!), but when I saw the HKAS blog, I realized how people might view it, and after my initial dismayed sputter of surprise, my feelings have ebbed into a blend of embarrassment tempered with amusement.
The HKAS blog exists for and is maintained by a group of people who have had ongoing issues with the quality/quantity of reviews by Harriet Klausner. Pity the poor fool (me) who happened to note that my book had received a 5-star review from HK because it made me a prime target for this group, and hence the “Lisa Marie Wilkinson is Proud of Herself” heckling.
The following are comments made by members of the HKAS blog group in response to the post (this is not a public blog in the sense that anyone can post a comment. Only “members” are allowed to post):
Posted by Malleus:
"Shall we laugh or shall we cry ? :-) Well. Congratulations of course, but this review from Harriet Klausner... these Klausner reviews aren't what they used to be anymore!"
Posted by Deborah Hern:
"That's sad. Especially since the romance reading community has a pretty strong online presence, and are thus likely to know that HK is a huge fraud. Using her as a 'see how great my book is' isn't likely to impress them."
I sensed condescension in the comments, but I wasn’t too disturbed because they didn’t seem to object to the RT rating or the Romance Junkies rating (perhaps because they have no qualms where these reviewers are concerned). I can’t help but wonder if the Deborah Hern who posted on HKAS is the same Deborah Hern who writes reviews for The Romance Readers Connection, a website that, ironically, also reviewed “Fire at Midnight” and gave it an “above average” rating of 4/5 stars. Oh, I shouldn’t forget to mention the “one of the best books published in Chicago” accolade from Publish Chicago. In for a penny, in for a pound, since I’m so darned proud of myself, LOL.
I guess this post on my own blog is just an attempt to let off some steam, since the HKAS blog is locked down and I cannot post a comment there. Thank you for indulging me, and (I hope) laughing along with me.